A total of 105 devices, including laptops, mobiles, tablets, cameras, and hard drives, have been stolen from BBC offices and staff in the past two years, according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by Griffin Law. Over the two years queried, the corporation revealed that individual microphones were the most frequently purloined device, with 36 taken in total – 10 in 2019 and 26 last year. In the same 24 months, the BBC also lost 35 smartphones – 19 in 2019 and 16 in 2020. The data also revealed that 11 laptops and MacBook devices had been stolen in 2019 and six in 2020; two laptops were reported stolen last year. The BBC also lost four hard drives, a camcorder, and an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
A BBC spokesperson commented: “The BBC takes incidents of crime seriously and we are constantly implementing and reviewing measures to reduce crime and recover lost and stolen items. The nature of many of the devices taken – particularly during 2020 – could indicate some degree of insider action at the BBC, particularly about microphones, potentially of use to staffers working from home. Edward Blake, area vice-president of Absolute Software for the UK and Ireland, said: “One of the biggest challenges facing organizations during the Covid-19 pandemic has been successfully securing and managing critical devices like laptops from loss, theft, and rising cyber risks.
You can’t protect what you cannot see [and] with so many people either working remotely or on the move, large organizations like the BBC will inevitably see devices go missing, some of which will contain confidential data,” he said. Blake said that as organizations such as the BBC continue to mandate work-from-home policies for non-key workers, they can no longer afford to rely solely on network-based cyber security policies but instead need to implement more endpoint protection measures. This means ensuring they have an unbreakable digital tether to all devices capable of delivering complete visibility and control, enabling real-time insights into the state of those devices and allowing them to self-heal security controls and productivity tools,” he said.